What’s In The Box
I have loved practically every iteration of the Xbox controller that has been released to date. Yes, even the original Duke and its Earth-shattering proportions! There is one notable exception to this though, and that was the Original Xbox Elite controller Microsoft released back in 2015. While there are design aspects and features of the controller I absolutely love, I am to this day disappointed by its build quality and especially the price it cost to get. Thankfully it seems that Microsoft has addressed a number of these issues with their elite Series 2 controller, but again, high prices make it so I am less eager to try it out. But given my love for the customization such controllers have on offer for different types of gaming experiences, I still wanted some type of Elite style controller, and the new Power A Fusion Pro 2 has fit the bill perfectly!
The Fusion Pro 2 comes in a thick box with a depiction of the controller taking center stage. A number of key aspects of the controller as well as its wired design are also notated. The side of the packaging lists a number of specs about the controller’s build and compatibility as well as a contents list. The back of the packaging further highlights key features of the Fusion Pro 2 including its pro pack, trigger locks, and grips. Inside the box, you will find the Fusion Pro 2 complete with a carrying case, swappable thumbsticks and faceplate, USB-C cord, stickers, and finally a user’s manual.
Aesthetics And Build Quality
The Fusion Pro 2 is fairly similar to an official Xbox Series X controller in terms of its design. It comes in a bit wider and heavier, letting it feel like it fills your hands better than Microsoft’s official offering. The bumpers have also been flattened, giving it a more rounded appearance. The addition of a volume and mute toggle, 4 mappable back paddles, and a standard D-pad round out the differences. I love the inclusion of the rubberized grip instead of just the plastic grip as well. Otherwise, everything you would expect to find on an Xbox controller is present on the Fusion Pro 2! Each of the face buttons feels great to press and the microswitches used in the bumpers feel far more satisfactory to the touch than those on the standard Xbox Series X controller.
Triggers have a bit less resistance to them which makes them ideal for shooters. They also feature three different locking modes for you to use in a variety of games. The thumbsticks have good resistance to them and being able to swap between standard, tall, or domed sticks depending on the game is a plus. The D-pad comes a bit too close to the stiff side but feels pleasing to use. The 4 programmable paddles on the back line up great with my fingers and are fun to press. Each one can be removed, allowing users to decide how many they want to use during gameplay. Or if you don’t plan to use any, the whole Pro Pack can be removed and a plastic cover can take its place.
I am a fan of Power A also including a second faceplate in the packaging, allowing us to further customize the Fusion Pro 2 to our tastes. I do wish that the white one had the same rubberized grip on the front though. The 10-foot braided USB-C cord attaches firmly to the controller and features a breakaway cord at the end to protect your Xbox consoles in case of an accidental stumble. The design takes me back to the days of the original Xbox and I like the nostalgia! As far as build quality goes, the Fusion Pro 2 is a beast. It takes any punishment I can give it and laughs at my efforts to make it bend to my will. For everyday wear and tear, it should hold up well!
Playing through my library of games across an assortment of genres felt great on the Fusion Pro 2. The controller in its default configuration is able to match the experience provided by the standard Series X controller in most regards (face buttons, thumbsticks), and exceed it in others (bumpers, triggers, and mappable paddles). Putting the controller up to an assortment of racing and flight games I was able to test the range on the triggers and found that they are able to be finely controlled depending on the situation. While playing Forza the rumble motors in the triggers do work as intended, unlike some third-party offerings! The D-pad, though on the stiff side, does turn in a good performance and responds accurately to presses without a single hint of a misread input. I think many will love the built-in headset volume and mic mute abilities.
So as a standard Xbox controller the Fusion Pro 2 is definitely hitting its mark, but there is so much more here that can benefit players of any variety! First is the mappable Pro Pack. With this included addition you are able to map any of the controller’s buttons for easier use during play. Power A has made the mapping procedure extremely easy and you are able to customize it on the fly without needing to use any additional software. As mentioned previously, the paddles can be removed to fit the game in question or personal preference. For myself, I tend to like having just 2 attached instead of the full 4 and I usually have them offset. But in some games, I like to remove the pack entirely if they aren’t needed. Thanks to the included carrying case I don’t have to worry about losing them, which is a plus. The second is the swappable sticks. Different genres can benefit greatly from different types of thumbsticks. For action games and RPGs, placing the domed stick on your movement side and a normal height stick on the camera side results in a very comfortable way to play and one that exceeds a standard controller in my mind. Games like Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy are my go-to’s for this type of configuration. For shooters, keeping the domed stick on your movement side and changing your other to the tall stick will result in finer aim control. Swapping to this configuration I could notice an immediate difference in Apex Legends. We have been playing this game nearly every night since last August and the overall better handling is just night and day to me.
Combining these 2 aspects and the Fusion Pro 2 gives me that Pro controller feel that I had hoped to get out of that original Elite Controller purchase from 2015 at a fraction of the cost. Since this is an Xbox controller, the Fusion Pro 2 can also be used on the Xbox One line-up of consoles in addition to the Series X and S. Use on PC is also supported thanks to its Xinput protocol. Putting the Fusion Pro 2 to work on my PC backlog has been quite enjoyable and controllers will always be my main form of input even in shooters! What It Could Have Done Better
While I think that the Fusion Pro 2 can fit the bill for a number of players looking to get an upgrade over their standard Series X or S, controllers there are a few things to keep in mind. Unlike Microsoft’s official Elite controllers, the Fusion Pro 2 is treated as a regular Xbox controller, so you don’t get any thumbstick customization. The default ranges the Fusion Pro 2 comes with are what you are stuck with and while that should be more than good enough for most with the swappable sticks, I can see it being less ideal for higher-tier players that fine-tune every aspect of their controllers.
There is also no customization of the trigger’s throw ranges, but I find this a bit less important since you have the 3 stage trigger locks on the controller itself. About my only issue personally with the Fusion Pro 2 is how loud the trigger rumble can get in certain titles. While it feels great in use, the noise can be a bit obtrusive. If you are a headset user this might not be so bad but do keep it in mind. I also wish there was a wireless option available, but thanks to Microsoft’s weird protocol on third-party accessories I understand why this isn’t happening. Verdict
At $100 less than the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller, the Power A Fusion Pro 2 is a strong contender in the Xbox pro controller market. You get nearly all the benefits of the Elite controllers without the drawback of build quality. You get extra features like the built-in volume controls and a share button. You can instantly map your rear paddles on the fly without leaving your games. And you also get to customize the look of your device; well, to some degree. While it loses out on being wireless, the performance on hand more than makes up for it in my mind. What makes the Fusion Pro 2 even more appealing to me is that it is only $20 more than a Standard Xbox Series X and S controller and offers significantly better performance when tuned to the game being played! The Power A Fusion Pro 2 has become my favorite Xbox controller to date and if you are in the market for a new controller and don’t mind a wired one, this is the choice for you!
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